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Whitcoulls Comments on Kobo eBook Store Shutdown, Cites Technical issues

It’s beenwhitcoulls-logo1[1] nearly a week since the New Zealand bookseller Whitcoulls turned off their Kobo supplied ebook store, and while they have not offered a time frame for when it will reopen they have responded with a comment.

Citing technical issues, Whitcoulls abruptly and with no fanfare shut down the ebook section of their website last week, and they are maintaining that explanation in their official comment:

The reason our eBook catalogue is off line is due to genuine issues around technical problems with the feed.  Customers are still able to purchase eBooks directly through the supplier website however.  At this stage we have no further information that we can advise on this and have no further comments.

Whitcoulls has been Kobo’s local retail partner ever since Kobo launched in late 2009, and the Whitcoulls website used to host the New Zealand branch of the Kobo ebook store.

Kobo has not responded to my queries, and neither party has explained what technical issues they are facing, so there is really little to add to the story at this point. It’s worth noting, though, that the shutdown did not provoke any complaints on Twitter, MobileRead, or elsewhere.  This raises the question as to whether Kobo and Whitcoulls have a large number of ebook customers in New Zealand.

Or perhaps they were not sufficiently bothered by the shutdown to make it worth complaining. Whitcoulls customers can after all access their ebooks via Kobo, so this is at best a minor inconvenience.

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Alexander Inglis March 19, 2014 um 9:35 am

It’s probably the last point: "[customers] were not sufficiently bothered by the shutdown to make it worth complaining". While you could browse on Whitcoull’s, transaction and library management are through the Kobo site. If you click through from Whitcoull’s to Kobo, you get a "Welcome Whitcoull’s customer" — that’s nothing new either, as far as I can see. I’d expect Whitcoull’s ebook customers would be entirely clear they are dealing with Kobo primarily and Whitcoull’s as a sort of local partner. I don’t think you can make the leap to assuming very few customers use it. Kobo, as you state, has been the highly visible partner of Whitcoull’s since Kobo device launch in 2010.

Nate Hoffelder March 19, 2014 um 9:47 am

Yep. That was added as a way to deflate whatever hype I may have generated last time around.

Lincoln GOULD March 20, 2014 um 12:56 am

Kobo e books and readers can be bought from scores of other book shops in New Zealand including all of Paper Plus Stores and also Independent booksellers. Directory of stores can be found on

Rebecca Dawson June 14, 2016 um 6:17 am

Its all very well and good that they closed this section but all the books that i purchased through whitcoulls I can no longer access. They stated that if we logged into Kobo we would still be able to access our purchases. What they did not take into account was those of us who had an existing account with kobo and used same e-mail and password. Unfortunately this is what I Did and now can not access books purchased through whitcoulls.

Nate Hoffelder June 14, 2016 um 6:29 am

You should contact Kobo, and ask them. From what I know, it shouldn’t be possible to have a Kobo and Whitcoulls accounts with the same email..

Brendon Scott January 7, 2018 um 12:59 am

I too wish to access Whitcoulls ebooks though kobo. Have been communicating with Kobo today – you link your bookworld account on the kobo website. However in my case the Whitcoulls books don’t show up on bookworld. Very confusing and frustrating.

We all bought these books in good faith from a brand we trust.

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